WOTW: The All-New Fortis Marinemaster Tool Watch
Fortis has hit a hot streak recently, and it continues to ride that streak with its latest launch: the Marinemaster! We can trace this hot run of form back to 2020, which was a good year for Fortis. The brand launched its popular Flieger collection, which we covered extensively here on Fratello. The Fratello team were fans of the sensible sizings, and excellent wearability, with a size to fit every wrist.
Moving on to 2021, Fortis then gave us the much-anticipated follow-up for the Official Cosmonaut’s Chronograph AMADEE-18, the AMADEE-20. Fortis made this watch for the AMADEE-20 Mars simulation mission. As such, the operation of this Fortis timepiece might directly impact and support the human race on their way to Mars. I follow some of the Fortis team on Instagram, and I have seen some of the work they’re doing out in the Negev Desert in Israel right now. It looks incredible, but I digress…
It’s always tough to follow a success, but to follow two? I’m pleased to say that Fortis is cooking with gas right now, and the new Marinemaster watches are ideally placed to become the next focus of the Fortis machine. Back in August of this year, I had the opportunity to see these watches up close and in hand while visiting the Fortis offices in Grenchen.
The Marinemaster has a place in Fortis history
For fans of the brand, you may recognize the Marinemaster name. Rather than being a distinct model, Fortis used the Marinemaster nomenclature to denote that the watch was waterproof. One of the most popular Marinemasters was the ref. 6237 from the 1970s, which is famous for its colorful dial, and Super Compressor case. Another notable Marinemaster is the ref. 8001 — a chronograph model. The 8001 was not just any chronograph, though as, like the Rolex Daytona, it used the Valjoux 72 to keep things ticking on the inside! Not only that, but it also had a depth rating of 200 meters. Not bad for a dive watch from the 1970s!
The Marinemaster name had almost been lost to history in recent times, except for two reissues of the previously mentioned references, one in 2002, and the other ten years later. With the introduction of the new Marinemaster collection, Fortis is resurrecting the Marinemaster name and giving it a makeover. The new collection consists of two Models and five colors inspired by nature, and the outdoors — a fitting tribute as Fortis describes the collection as the perfect companion for any outdoor adventure.
The Marinemaster M-40
The “entry-level” model is the Marinemaster M-40 which is available in 4 different colors: Rockstone Gray, Woodpecker Green, Serenity Blue, and Snow White. The colors are not bold and bright, but instead, they’re more muted in shade, but nicely so. Having seen all of these back in August, I found the Serenity Blue to be my favorite. All four colors come with the option of a super-comfy matching rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet.
My advice? If you can, get both. The rubber strap was exceptional, and it echoes the pattern found on the dials. Recognize the pattern? It’s the “O” for the Fortis logo. It’s always nice to have a bracelet option, too, as it allows you to create a different character for your watch in a flash. The chronometer-standard, automatic UW30, which uses a Sellita SW200-1 base, powers the Marinemaster M-40.
The Marinemaster M-44
Bigger and bolder than its smaller sibling, the Marinemaster M-44 only comes in one color option, Amber Orange. For the flagship model of the Marinemaster collection, it makes sense to focus the color palette around Fortis’ signature hue. The dial itself is black, but it features an Amber Orange chapter ring and minute hand and a choice of matching Amber Orange rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet.
If you look closely at the images of the M-44, you may notice a little something extra at 10 o’clock. That is, in fact, a bezel lock mechanism. While not extraordinary by itself, I wanted to remark just how crisp and clean the machining and operation were. It worked perfectly and was incredibly smooth and well-engineered.
A brand new movement
A flagship watch deserves a flagship movement, so Fortis chose the WERK 11 to power the M-44. Kenissi, the movement manufacturer owned by Tudor, makes the WERK 11. It is a new manufacture caliber that Kenissi designed and tested in conjunction with Fortis, with ultimate robustness and reliability in mind. For example, the traversing balance bridge with a two-point fixation improves shock resistance and allows precise balance positioning. Furthermore, the WERK 11 is a COSC-certified chronometer with an impressive power reserve of 70 hours. Fortis has gone all out for the M-44, and the effort has paid off. While the smaller M-40 slightly better suited my wrist size, it’s hard to deny the impressive technical capabilities of the M-44.
Recycled steel, baby!
A final point worth talking about with the new Marinemaster family isn’t actually that new at all. When Fortis launched the Flieger F-39 and F-41 “Midnight Blue” editions earlier this year, it pledged only to use recycled steel for future releases. Well, I’m glad to say Fortis is indeed sticking to its promise of sustainability, and all new Marinemaster watches use recycled steel for all steel parts. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about our impact on the environment when we operate in the luxury industry. Some brands are indeed making a conscious effort to limit their impact, and it’s good to see an independent brand like Fortis join the worthy cause and help pave the way for others to follow.
So there we have the new Fortis Marinemaster, an ode to a famous era of the brand’s history. While these new watches may not bear a resemblance to their forebears, it’s a fantastic nod to history in what is a fresh start for the Marinemaster name. Make sure to check out the Fortis website for more information.
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